For the Love of a $4 Tomato: A Guest Blog of Epic Proportions

Gentle Readers, today’s guest blog post is truly a work of pure genius. Have you ever selected a tomato at the Farmer’s Market, only to find it costs somewhere between an arm and a leg? Me too. And sometimes, that tomato takes on a life of its own. Without further adieu, I give you the real-life story of Lindsey McGuirk .

It all started with those dreamy bedroom eyes. They call to me every Wednesday at our local farmers market. The handsome farmer with his wares. I couldn’t think of a good way to strike up a conversation with him, so I grabbed the closest thing to me: a tomato.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” I say as I hand the almost too-ripe fruit to him. “Yeah. It’s amazing out,” he replies as he sets the tomato on the scale. “That will be $4.” We look into each others eyes, his registering the shock that I’m doing a terrible job at hiding. $4! For a tomato?! I reach into my wallet, and pull out my money, reluctantly handing it over to him. I could’ve told him I didn’t want the tomato. That I actually wanted the radishes. Yes, the radishes. That’s right! I’d put them in my salad instead of the tomato. But it was too late. He hands me the change from my $5 bill, as well as my tomato. My stupid $4 tomato. Those stupid dreamy bedroom eyes.

I take my $4 tomato home. “You better be good, $4 Tomato,” I say, glaring at it. It remains silent.

The next day, I go to work, still unsettled that I had spent 4 bucks on a tomato. I mean, that’s two pastor tacos from the taco truck. The damage had already been done and now all I could do was move past it. I mean, it wasn’t $4 tomato’s fault that it was $4. I didn’t know any better. Right?

When I get home that day, I’m stopped dead in my tracks. It seems that $4 Tomato not only knows better, it knows exactly how much better it is.

"Bow down to me." --$4 Tomato

“Bow down to me.” –$4 Tomato

“Bow down to me.”

I couldn’t believe it. $4 Tomato sat on its little royal throne, donning its tiny crown (where the heck did it even find these things?)  I rip the tiny crown off its head and dethrone $4 Tomato. “No, $4 Tomato. I will not bow down to you.”  Stunned, I put it back in my fridge.

I start making dinner and can’t find myself able to put $4 Tomato to use. Seeing it on that throne really creeped me out and the thought of ingesting it turns my stomach. “It’s ok, Lindsey,” I think. “It’s just a tomato who let its hefty price go to its head.”

Dinner prepared, I carry my plate to my dining room table and am struck by a humiliating sight.

Seriously, $4 Tomato?

Seriously, $4 Tomato?

Seriously, $4 Tomato?!

Where it even got the book, I have no idea (I swear!) I grab the book and throw it across the room. “$4 Tomato, you’re pushing my buttons.” It just stares at me.

My appetite thoroughly spoiled, I carry my plate back into the kitchen. As I start cleaning up, I hear music faintly moving toward me. “What in the world?” I walk into my living room, and there sits $4 Tomato at my piano, playing “Chopsticks.”

"I'm a little Mozart." --$4 Tomato

“I’m a little Mozart.” –$4 Tomato

“I’m a little Mozart.”

Okay, that is cute. I had to give it that. I plop down on the couch to enjoy the concert. It finishes the song and starts playing another round of “Chopsticks.” “Know anything else, $4 Tomato?” I ask. It stops, turns to me, and continues playing. “Okay,” I think, “I’ll listen to another round.” When the song is over, I wait to hear another. Instead, “Chopsticks” rings from the piano again. “Okay, $4 Tomato. I think concert time is over,” I say, but it keeps playing. “Seriously, $4 Tomato. That’s enough.” Rather than stopping, though, $4 Tomato starts banging out the notes, furiously. Enraged, I grab it and return it to the fridge, slamming the door. “I need to get out of here,” I think.

I grab my purse and storm out to my car. I reach into my purse for my keys, but can’t find them.

Vroom vroom! --$4 Tomato

Vroom vroom! –$4 Tomato

Vroom vroom!

“Not cool, $4 Tomato! Give me my keys.” The engine comes to life. “Oh no you don’t,” I shout, turning the keys in the ignition and pulling them out. “Back into the fridge you go!” I walk $4 Tomato inside, throwing it into the vegetable drawer. Satisfied with that extra precaution, I leave to meet a friend.

After a couple of hours, I return home, fully recovered from the day’s events. I decide that I need to sit down with $4 Tomato. That yes, we’d gotten off to a bad start, but we could repair the damage. I walk into my place, throw my keys onto my table, and head toward the kitchen to retrieve $4 Tomato from the fridge. All the patience I’d convinced myself to have drains away from me.

Glug glug. --$4 Tomato Gone Wild

Glug glug. –$4 Tomato Gone Wild

Glug glug.

“Are you kidding me, $4 Tomato?! I was only gone a couple hours. Get your loser friends out of here!” As I watch all the tomatoes scatter, something in me snaps. I can’t take anymore of the havoc $4 Tomato has created in my life. I grab the overpriced fruit and scowl at it. “We’re done, $4 Tomato.” Again, it remains silent, which infuriates me even more. I know the time has come, know exactly what I need to do.

And so, as quickly as $4 Tomato had entered my life, $4 Tomato entered my belly.

Nom nom. --$4 Tomato a Love Story

Nom nom. –$4 Tomato a Love Story

Nom nom.

A small part of me misses that little guy. But I have another $4 burning a hole in my pocket for those dreamy bedroom eyes.

Lindsey McGuirk knows she’s a hot tomato, because her mommy told her so. She lives & breathes naps, white chocolate mochas, and books. You can snoop around her reading pleasures here: http://www.villagebooks.com/village-books-lindseys-picks

I have not stopped laughing since I first saw the $4 Tomato don the crown. Have a story to share? Post a comment below. Let us know about your adventures in the farmer’s market and beyond! Thank you Lindsey, the next sammie is on me.

Send your overpriced produce, kitchen secrets, and food challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Friday: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes with a Side of Bacon.

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4 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy

4 responses to “For the Love of a $4 Tomato: A Guest Blog of Epic Proportions

  1. Maria

    All tomatoes, especially the $4 ones, wreak havoc when kept in the refrigerator. On my recent trip to the farmers’ market, I saw organic eggplant for $5/lb. No handsome farmer, so I kept on walking.

    • The Practical Cook

      Lol! Sorry your eggplant was unaccompanied! And yes, I tend to not refrigerate the tomatoes, but lose one or two to the process.

  2. NancyP

    Thank you for this post – as much as it pains me to spend $4 on a tomato, it’s nothing compared to the pain of eating a crappy supermarket tomato. As for refrigerating them, allow me to cite Ronni Lundy’s “In Praise of Tomatoes”: Allow tomatoes to rest at room temperature until ready to use. Refrigeration quells the flavor and changes the texture of your plump ripe fruit from succulent to mealy.

    • The Practical Cook

      Nothing is worse than a cardboard tomato! I file it under why bother. And thank you for the tomato citation. I so often end up eating a whole tomato simply to avoid refrigeration!

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